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Listen to the courts ... and the people

The following editorial appeared in The Telegraph (Alton, Ill.) on Wednesday, January 16:


(MCT) — Say you come up with a well-intentioned rule designed to prevent people in your state from being killed by guns.

So you put into place a ban on concealed weapons.

Say a vast majority of folks — with the exception of your closest friends — despise it. To some, it is an infringement on their rights. To others, it is overly restrictive.

But because these closest friends are powerful political allies, you keep the law. Other states, convinced it will help them as well, adopt similar guidelines.

It doesn’t.

Instead, shooting deaths are out of control. More people are killed by guns in the largest city in your state since 2001 than are killed in battle in Afghanistan — almost twice as many.

More than that, the law is challenged over and over in court and, over and over, it is determined unconstitutional. Each challenge to those court decisions ends up costing taxpayers, the people who already said they don’t support the law, thousands of dollars.

By now, the others who followed in your footsteps have abandoned the law. You remain the only person still enforcing the rule.

You are at a crossroads. Everywhere you look, the places that tossed aside their laws don’t find themselves turning into the O.K. Corral. Your state’s highest courts are saying to scrap the law. Your own people are so angry over the regulation that they vote in a dozen counties to defy it.

Instead you push the issue again, which is what Attorney General Lisa Madigan’s office has decided to do. It plans to ask the entire 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to review the ban.

Much like Chicago officials did when they snubbed their noses at the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision that the city’s 28-year handgun ban was unenforceable (Chicago replied by coming up with new, just as restrictive rules), Illinois has become the rogue police officer circumventing the rules because he thinks he knows what’s best.

Tenacity is one thing; audacity is another.

It’s time to do what’s right. Listen to the courts, listen to the people.

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